Video games to look out for in 2020

Screenshots from the Cyberpunk 2077 video game.
Screenshots from the Cyberpunk 2077 video game.PHOTO: CD PROJEKT RED

These are the video games (in no particular order) to look out for in 2020, as picked by The Straits Times tech team.

HARIZ'S PICKS

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Platforms: PS4

Release date: March 3, 2020

At first, it seemed like remaking Final Fantasy VII was just another attempt by developer Square Enix to ride on the nostalgia of fans and milk the company's cash cow franchise.

But with each new trailer more impressive than the last, it seems Square Enix is going all-in with this remake.

There are concerns among fans about how big the game will be and how many episodes it will be released in, but FFVII Remake's high-level of production value is doing a good job to placate their worries and keep them wanting more.

The game's iconic battle system is not just getting a facelift but is being overhauled to make it more action-packed. And if the E3 demo from last year is anything to go by, players are not going to be disappointed.

Cyberpunk 2077

Platforms: PC, PS4, Google Stadia, and Xbox One

Release date: April 16, 2020

Keanu Reeves, in a new video game! The revelation at last year's E3 that the action star would be in Cyberpunk 2077 stole headlines as it made the title relevant for even non-gamers - but that is not the only thing to be excited about.

Polish developer CD Projekt Red, of The Witcher fame, seems to have spared no effort to make Cyberpunk 2077 come alive, with a highly detailed world filled with complex segments of society.

Judging by what the trailers have shown, the futuristic sci-fi game looks set to push the boundaries of what it means to be an open-world game, by giving players the freedom to play the game in whatever style they want to.

What's more, no two game playthroughs will be the same, as the game will be supposedly so full of random events that players might never experience them all.

The Last of Us Part II


Platforms: PS4

Release date: May 29, 2020

The Last of Us seemed to be all everyone could ever talk about when it was released in 2013, and for good reason.

Its compelling characters and captivating story was unlike what many had ever seen in a game, much less a game about zombies.

The game's path to release has not been the smoothest as it was delayed from Feb to May, but developer Naughty Dog knows how to keep the hype going with trailers that have kept fans begging for more.

From what we have seen so far of The Last of Us II, the game looks set to deliver more emotional highs with its character-driven storytelling approach, as players get to finally find out more of what happens to returning character Ellie, after the tragic events of the first game.

Godfall


Platforms: PC and PS5

Release date: Late 2020

It is no secret that 2020 will be the year of next-gen gaming, and players all over the world have been hungry for any kind of details about the titles they can expect from the consoles of the not-too-distant future.

Godfall is the first title to be announced for PlayStation 5, although it has also been said to be slated for release on Microsoft Windows too.

There is a lot of mystery shrouding the game and not much is known other than that it is a third-person fantasy looter-slasher focused on melee combat.

It seems that developer Counterplay Games is going for a polished look in their new title, going by a reveal trailer released last month.

More details about Godfall are likely to surface in the coming months, along with other next-gen games that players can look forward to.

TREVOR'S PICKS

Wasteland 3


Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Release date: May 19, 2020

The 1998 post-apocalyptic role-playing game (RPG) Wasteland, which inspired the blockbuster Fallout, has not seen a release since its sequel appeared over five years ago. But the wait is nearly over.

Like its predecessors, Wasteland 3 continues the story of the Desert Rangers - a group of survivalists who helps survivors and maintains order in post nuclear-fallout US.

Wasteland 3 will continue to be played via a third-person isometric view with turn-based combat. It picks up after the events of Wasteland 2. You will be playing the sole survivor from a squad of Desert Rangers dispatched to make contact with the ruler of Colorado Springs.

Like with all RPGs, you will be strengthening your character and building your reputation among the various factions while exploring new lands. Your actions and decisions will dictate the outcomes of the game.

New World

Platform: PC

Release date: May 2020

This will be the first game by Amazon Game Studios. Yes, the same company that delivers groceries to your house will be launching a new open-world massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).

The New World is in the same MMORPG mould as the likes of World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online.

In development for more than three years, the game is set in a 17th century game universe where players explore a fictional island called Aeternum.

This island is rich in Azoth, a substance thought to be the source of eternal life, thus attracting colonists from everywhere. However, a malignant element known as the Corruption has turned the island's humanity and wildlife into savages.

Players can work together, or play solo, to discover the island's secrets, upgrade their characters and expand their colonial settlements. This MMORPG will allow up to 100 players to play together in order to defend their settlements from the island's savages or other invading players.

Skull & Bones


Platform: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Release date: To be announced, 2020

We first played a multiplayer demo of this tactical pirate-ship combat game at the Electronics Entertainment Expo in 2017. And we were very impressed then.

Skull & Bones is set in an open-world environment and played from a third-person perspective. You take control of a pirate ship and team up with four other pirate ships to attack merchants and enemy ships to loot gold.

It requires an understanding of the timing of raising sails and catching the wind to manoeuvre the vessel during attacks. The gameplay is intuitive with easy controls. Graphics are fantastic with the water effects looking realistic.

Currently in development here by Ubisoft Singapore, the game was supposed to be released in the last quarter of 2018 but was delayed. Its release was then pushed to last year but it was again delayed. We hope to see it finally debut this year.

Halo Infinite


Platform: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X

Release date: Q4, 2020

Like with the original Xbox in which the first person shooter game Halo was the game console's marquee launch title, the upcoming Xbox Series X will have Halo Infinite as its launch title.

The sixth edition of the Halo franchise will see the return of the game's fan-favourite character Master Chief.

Halo fans were left reeling when Master Chief played only a minor role in the last iteration. But this character will be the focus of the story in the new game.

Not too much is known about the storyline except that it will be "more human", according to the developers. The game will also be powered by a new game engine known as SlipSpace.

With the game slated as a technological showcase of what the Xbox Series X can do in terms of its processing and graphics powers, it is definitely one for gamers to watch out for.

VINCENT'S PICKS

Crusader Kings III


Platforms: PC

Release date: To be announced, 2020

More intrigued by the political maneuvering than the dragons in HBO's Game of Thrones television hit? Then, Crusader Kings III is not to be missed.

A simulator game set in the Middle Ages, the goal here is to expand your kingdom by any means possible, whether diplomacy, marriage or war.

The Crusader Kings series has always stood out from other strategy games because it focuses on role-playing and character development. The upcoming game doubles down on this by adding new ways to develop the skills and traits of your ruler character. Instead of having random events like in past games, a ruler's skills and abilities will determine the type of events that occur in the game.

If the latest installment is anything like the previous games in the series, expect incest and familicide to feature in the course of the playthrough - just like in Game of Thrones.

Doom Eternal

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia and Switch (To be announced, 2020)

Release date: March 20, 2020

Shoot it if it moves - that was Doom (2016) in a nutshell. The reboot of the venerable first-person shooting game franchise was a breath of fresh air to me after years of slogging through insipid games of the same genre that aspired to be interactive movies or worse, art.

The sequel, Doom Eternal, promises to keep its simple and mindless gameplay. Originally slated for November last year, its release was pushed back by developer id Software to "live up to our standards of speed and polish".

Doom Eternal will have twice as many types of demons for protagonist Doom Slayer to kill as he returns to Earth to fend off the demonic horde. The sequel also introduces a new game mode, Invasion, that lets you enter another player's game as a demon to hunt down the host player - like in the Dark Souls games.

Ghost of Tsushima


Platform: PS4

Release date: Summer 2020

Samurai action adventure Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was one of my favourite games last year. Thankfully I do not have to wait long for another samurai game because Ghost of Tsushima, where you play as a lone samurai trying to reclaim his homeland from Mongol invaders in 1274, is slated for a summer release.

While Ghost's story, setting and gameplay appear distinctly different from Sekiro's supernatural-tinged world, the trailers for the upcoming game look cinematic with superb visuals and sound effects.

This PS4 exclusive has been described by its developer as an action-stealth game. Players will have complete freedom to explore the open world without waypoints to direct them. Those who found Sekiro's combat too challenging will be pleased that Ghost will have different levels of difficulty.

Half-Life: Alyx


Platform: PC (SteamVR)

Release date: March 2020

Seeing as over 12 years have elapsed since the last Half-Life game, I had long given up on developer Valve completing its seminal sci-fi action game series.

But while there is still no Half-Life 3, Valve will launch Half-Life: Alyx this year on its SteamVR platform. This means you'll need a compatible virtual reality headset such as the Oculus Rift or the Valve Index, as well as a fairly capable Windows computer to play the game.

Alyx is set between the events in Half-Life and Half-Life 2 and follows Alyx Vance and her father as they mount a resistance against the occupation of Earth by mysterious aliens. Lest you think Alyx is a glorified tech demo for Valve's VR headset, the developer has said that it is a full-length game that will take as long to complete as previous entries in the series.